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Like the soundtrack to a really stylish Hong Kong crime thriller, these jazzy, East-meets-West meditations are foxier than Bei Bei’s publicity photos—and that’s saying a lot. –Metromix
Bei Bei is a Gu Zheng performer, composer and educator who was born in Chengdu, China and now resides in Southern California. The guzheng, also spelled gu zheng or gu-zheng or zheng (the Chinese symbol for which translates to "ancient") is a traditional Chinese musical instrument with a truly captivating sound that lends itself as much to peaceful ambient recordings as it does to Kung-Fu funk. It belongs to the zither family of string instruments and is the parent instrument of the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum, and the Vietnamese ?àn tranh.
Shawn Lee met Be Bei while Lee was out in California recording the Lord Newborn album and collaborating with Clutchy Hopkins. Files have been swapped back and forth and the project polished up for release over the past 6 months. Bei Bei and Shawn Lee’s “Beauty and the Beats” album will follow in January 2010. Watch out for accompanying live shows.
New music by Gu Zheng performer Bei Bei and Ubiquity producer Shawn Lee marries a unique blend of ancient tradition with studio trickery and spiritual jazz. This uplifting, genre-bending, soundclash recalls the afrocentric harping of Dorothy Ashby, the hypnotic style of Alice Coltrane, and the organic electronics of Four Tet and Quantic.
For this introductory, limited edition 10” EP, we include the original and instrumental versions of “Make Me Stronger,” with a vocal by Georgia Anne Muldrow who has recently produced and sang on records by Mos Def and Erykah Badu (she is also working on a solo record for Ubiquity.) Alongside these, is a storming version of the Billy Paul psychedelic soul opus “East.” And a remix by UK producer Floating Points (whose “Love Me Like This”, “Vacuum Boogie”, and “Radiality” releases have been turning heads all year long) takes the track deep into FP vs. Wu-Tang territory.